First, the bad news: According to the Movember Foundation, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canadian men.
Now, the good news: Simple wellness strategies can help men greatly reduce their chances of getting this diagnosis.
Your body is an incredible living ‘factory’ that produces its own chemicals to either kill cancer cells via the immune system or keep prostate cancer cells in check. So what causes normal cells to grow out of control or suppressed cancer cells to become active?
The Bad Guy? Inflammation
Before we talk about prevention, let’s back up for moment and consider probable causes. Research has shown that chronic inflammation in our body’s tissues, typically due to a poor diet, has been long associated with many diseases, including cancer.
Reduce inflammation that is out of control, and you’ll reduce the chances of a cancer diagnosis. At least that’s the thinking of many research oncologists with decades of studies. So how do we keep inflammation at bay?
There Is No Single Super Food or Magic Bullet
Green tea, vitamin D, saw palmetto, leafy greens, turmeric, tomatoes. These are just a few of the supplements and foods that you may have heard work to reduce inflammation and suppress cancer cell generation. But here’s something to think about: Minimizing harmful lifestyle factors that contribute to the onset and progression of long lasting inflammation does more to prevent or halt malignant cell growth in the prostate than these ‘magical’ foods and supplements. While beneficial, vitamins, supplements and “superfoods” must come second to altering those lifestyle habits that play a large part in declining prostate health.
This means you can’t blame a prostate cancer diagnosis on a lack of broccoli and tomatoes, for example. Instead, the origins of this cancer can often be traced to things like tobacco or processed sugars. These cause inflammation, subsequently laying the groundwork for unhealthy tissue change that can eventually lead to cancer.
What about testing?
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening is not always the best route to take for men with no history of prostate cancer. In cases where tests come back within normal limits over many years, these men may think that they are immune to developing prostate cancer. This false sense of security can result in many not taking the necessary preventative steps, like those outlined below.
Still, PSA testing is a widely used tool, and many men depend on it to find out whether or not they are predisposed to developing prostate cancer. Keep in mind that even the doctor who developed this screening has admitted it is better applied when predicting a recurrence of prostate cancer in men who were thought to be in remission.
If you have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but plan to have your doctor perform this test on you, it’s best to do it in combination with the C-reactive protein test which checks for inflammation that can lead to cancer.
If you are serious about prostate cancer prevention, it might be time to consider making some changes to your lifestyle. It’s important to note that a few positive changes won’t trump one bad habit.
The 10 wellness strategies below will reduce inflammation, helping your body keep cancer cells in check.
- Incorporate plenty of fruits and veggies into your diet, eat healthy snacks like seeds and nuts, and drink at least 6 – 8 oz glasses of water every day.
- Move your body! Aim for a brisk 40-minute walk, 5 or 6 times a week.
- Try to meditate for 20 minutes each day to reduce stress. Simply letting your mind wander can work wonders as well!
- Reduce your red meat consumption considerably. Start by cutting the amount you eat each month in half, and then once you’re used to eating less, half it again. Do not barbecue red meats over coals
- Avoid processed dairy products—a little plain yogurt or feta weekly won’t hurt if you don’t have a food sensitivity to dairy.
- Reduce body fat (if necessary) and build more muscle. Reducing calories can decrease inflammation and lower your risk of cancer.
- Minimize the amount of chemicals and pollutants you are exposed to.
- Take care of infections promptly.
- Remove all tobacco products from your life.
- Add some natural fermented foods to your diet.
While there is no single magic food or ingredient that will prevent prostate cancer, that doesn’t mean you should avoid vitamins, healthy snacks or other natural remedies your doctor suggests. They’re the perfect complement to a healthy lifestyle!